Bet you didn’t know that National Vision Board Day is celebrated annually on the second Saturday of January? Okay, before you moan, groan and roll your eyes, let me just tell you this — THEY WORK!
If you are one of the few who aren’t familiar with what vision boards are or didn’t jump aboard The Secret bandwagon, these crafty collages are an incredible visual tool used for setting goals and attaining them. They are often made on a canvas, cork or poster board and filled with a collage of photos and/or words that inspire and manifest your biggest dreams. Okay, maybe it sounds a little airy-fairy to some, but I’ve personally made vision boards for myself for over a decade now, and I cannot even begin to tell you how freaky-legit these bad boys are. I recently found an old vision board that I haven’t looked at in years and wow — it is incredible to see that nearly everything that I had dreamed for myself had come true — things from vacations, babies, jobs… even my current car! (Which reminds me, I really need to make a new vision board!)
So, this is how it works: The whole idea of these magical boards are to display them in a spot in your home or office where you will see them often. (I have a quiet meditation space that I sit at daily where I like to keep mine.) You then take a little time out of your day to concentrate on the pictures or words on your board, reminding yourself of the things that you want to accomplish, feel or create for yourself. As time passes, you should begin to see these goals come to life. You’re basically doing short, daily exercises in visualization and utilizing the law of attraction. Believe it or not, visualization is scientifically proven to work. Professional athletes have been using it for decades to improve performance, and Psychology Today has reported that the brain patterns that activated when a weightlifter lifts heavy weights are also similarly activated when the weightlifter just visualized lifting weights. Pretty powerful stuff, right? This is where I had a lightbulb moment. If this method can work for me, why on earth couldn’t it work for kids?! Can you imagine the endless opportunities?
So, here comes my guinea pig:
Jameson: Age 4
Materials needed: Poster board, markers, printer, old magazines, colored paper, scissors, glue stick
Explanation of what you will be doing: My son sees my vision board in the house daily and has asked me about the pictures. This opens up a conversation where I can ask him if he would like to make one, too. I then explain to him that Mommy likes to look at the pictures of things that make me happy, feel inspired or simply things that I want in my future. (I keep this all pretty layman — remember, he just recently turned 4.)
Provide cues: I asked my son, what are some things that you would like to be able to accomplish or do? What are some of the things you wish you could have? This is where things get exciting! I was so surprised at some of the simple, poignant and just downright adorable answers he gave me. I had no clue he wanted to start learning how to tie his shoes. What?! You don’t want to live in velcro shoes for the rest of your life? He also hopes to soon ride a bike without training wheels and learn how to make his own smoothies by himself. He also wants pet chickens and horses and to visit Hawaii. Who is this kid?! This project can open up some beautiful conversations with your child (of any age) and even teach you a few things that you may not know. I truly thought his board would be full of Rescue Bots, Paw Patrol characters, candy and monster trucks — boy was I wrong, and I feel horrible for assuming.
Set the mood: Play some fun, calming music and have a large, clean, workspace available. Light a candle. Cut out pictures from old magazines, junk mail, scan pictures or words from books, or just print the images from the computer. Cut them out together and make a collage of the words and images, adding any embellishments you’d like — glitter, stickers, colorful markers. You don’t have to have a Master’s in Fine Arts to do this — there are no rules, trust me, whichever way you do it will be just perfect for you. We decided that we wanted to keep my son’s very simple so that he could focus on the images. This works perfectly for a young child or nonreader.
Find a special place: When your work of art is finished, come together and think of a perfect place to put it. You want this place to be somewhere that you pass daily, will look at often and somewhere that is special — don’t let your vision board just become a decorative wall hanging or piece of furniture. Let it be a piece of work that gets studied, memorized and engrained in your mind. Relish in it and the clarity it gives you as your short and longterm goals come to fruition.
Make changes: Your dreams aren’t set in stone. Visit your board and make changes as time passes. Maybe goals have already been accomplished, or you don’t have the same feelings about something as you did before? Check in with your child periodically and see where they stand with their aspirations. Make a new vision board yearly. I like to look at my old vision boards and see how far I’ve come. This can be extremely rewarding for a child. Seeing that they accomplished that 5K run or made straight As can be a huge boost to their confidence! To save space, I recommend taking a photo of them and keeping it for posterity. I plan to post my son’s all up on his wedding video someday. Okay, only kidding! Sort of.
Seriously, how cool is it to know that life is a blank canvas of possibility; that YOU are in control of what the finished picture could look like? I hope this inspires you to try making a vision board not only for yourself but with your family. What does your new year look like?